Kentucky Museum experiences record success
- Author: Tiffany Isselhardt
- Author: Monday, July 22nd, 2019
In the heart of Bowling Green, a hidden gem is shining again.
The Kentucky Museum has released their 2018-19 Annual Report, which details a new era of growth, innovation, and service. Notably, the Museum has seen a 28% increase in visitors over the last six months, thanks to a Free Admission grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Visitors this past year observed 14 new exhibitions, including Charles Brindley’s Salient Features: Trees of Old Forests and Woodland Pastures and the traveling exhibition of Cuban art, Arte Cubano. The Museum also collaborated with internationally-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty, who led a community-produced installation entitled Highbrow on the Museum’s front lawn, and continued its premiere annual art juried competition, the US Bank Celebration of the Arts, in partnership with US Bank. These exhibitions benefit our community and provide applied, interdisciplinary learning opportunities for WKU students.
“Arte Cubano offered a view into a range of ideas and artistic strategies seen in major museums around the world,” stated WKU Professor-Artist Yvonne Petkis, whose students visited the exhibit several times. “Each visit taught students the deeper study that occurs through physically sketching and opened up possibilities for what their own work might address and in the risks that they each might feel empowered to take.”
Additional success is seen in the Museum’s service to WKU’s campus and the South Central Kentucky community. Overall, the Museum witnessed a 129% increase in class visits to tour exhibits and utilize close study collections, 220% increase in individual student visits, and 190% increase in faculty and staff visits, setting records for their ability to integrate with WKU’s curricular programs. They also welcomed 900 children on K-12 tours and sent traveling trunks to local K-12 schools that benefitted 1,106 children.
“This has been a monumental year for the Kentucky Museum on a number of fronts,” stated Kentucky Museum Director Brent Bjorkman. “As you will note in reading this annual report, we are working to increase the usability of the museum as a welcoming educational, social, and communal space. We are continuing to foster partnerships and collaborations, campus and state-wide, that provide greater opportunities for lifelong learning and engagement at WKU while supporting our community at the local, regional, and global levels.”
The Museum continues to push forward on its new strategic efforts and grow external sources of funding—such as Friends memberships and private sponsorships—which are the only source of support for the Museum’s exhibitions, programs, collections care, and events.
Plans for the coming year include an 80th anniversary celebration of the Kentucky Building, the premiere of several faculty-produced exhibitions, research and conservation work on the Mrs. A. H. Taylor Company collection, and continuation of hallmark programs such as Hammer-In (October 5) and Christmas in Kentucky (December 7).
For more on their record success, download a copy of the Annual Report here.
Want to support their innovative work?
Make a gift online at https://www.wku.edu/kentuckymuseum/donate.php or call Tiffany Isselhardt, Fundraising Coordinator, at 270-745-3369.
Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: 1444 Kentucky Street, Bowling Green, KY
Admission: Free for general public; Groups of 10+ must register in advance
More Information: https://www.wku.edu/kentuckymuseum/
About Kentucky Museum
Now in our 80th year, the Kentucky Museum celebrates all aspects of South-Central Kentucky’s art, history, and culture. “Kentuckians need to know Kentucky” was the museum’s earliest conceptual framework, which took shape in the eyes of WKU’s founding president Henry Hardin Cherry. Today, we are a steadfast educational campus partner helping to inspire innovation, elevate community, and transform the lives of our students and the community.